Zanu PF space barons protest against Coltart

Town clerk Christopher Dube

ZANU PF space barons yesterday sponsored a demonstration against Bulawayo mayor David Coltart and the council after they were evicted from Fifth Avenue in the city.

Bulawayo City Council temporarily closed the street for renovations, where it plans to create 500 vending bays.

The space barons invaded Fifth Avenue in 2022 and illegally allocated trading bays to Zanu PF members.

They were also collecting fees from the vendors on a weekly basis.

The illegal allocation of trading bays, however, created chaos in the central business district (CBD), with some areas becoming impassable.

The protesters marched to Fifth Avenue before proceeding to City Hall, where they complained about their eviction.

The protesters said they had been out of business for the past three months with no feedback from council as to when they would be allowed to return to the vending bays.

Indigenisation Vendors spokesperson Sawu Jere said they were ready to occupy their vending spaces.

“We had a meeting with the city council regarding the issue and allocation of vending bays in the CBD,” he said.

“All the vendors submitted everything that was wanted by the local authority. It’s been three months now.”

Another vendor said: “We are the children of Zanu PF who registered for those vending bays.

“We are the vendors who belong there and at the moment they took away our goods, what will we sell ? We need money for rentals, schools fees as the schools are opening next week.”

Town clerk Christopher Dube said the allocation of vending bays had never been done without consultation.

“All associations in the relevant sector reached an agreement and submitted their chosen names to BCC for allocation of vending bays. However, some associations are now requesting to add additional names that were not agreed upon during the meetings,” he said.

“This situation has led to numerous conflicts, but we are striving to address all stakeholders’ needs to maintain balance.

“It is important to note that the City of Bulawayo is not directly assigning vending bays, but rather implementing the decisions made during the meetings with stakeholders.”

Dube said 419 bays out of 576 had now been allocated.

“We are now expediting allocation in terms of what was agreed between council and the associations.”

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